Teeth whitening is a dental process which uses dental whitening gel/cream to remove the stains from the surface of the teeth. It can be done by oneself at home as well. But the professional whitening treatment given by a dentist would give better results and would also last longer.
What are the common reasons for staining of teeth?
- Excessive consumption of colored foods
- Chewing tobacco
- Frequent consumption of beverages such as tea, coffee, black currant, red wine, etc.
- Improper brushing techniques
Why would you need to get your teeth whitened?
Some dentists say that teeth exhibit aging by showing signs of discoloration. But, that is just one of the causes of discoloration of teeth. Teeth mostly get stained due to consumption of colored foods and beverages. In certain cases, the usage of antibiotics also plays a role in this regard.
Some patients may naturally have darker teeth and some may develop white spots on them due to underlying cavities or other reasons. Some may have just one discolored tooth, which could be the effect of a root canal treatment. Hence, getting teeth whitening done would make the teeth whiter, remove the stains that your teeth have developed and would give you an even tone on all the teeth. It would increase your confidence level immensely.
What does whitening involve?
Teeth whitening is a process of bleaching the teeth in order to remove the stains that have developed on them. This is brought about by hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which is present in whitening gels. The whitening gel will be applied to the teeth and left there for a certain duration. During this process, oxygen molecules will be liberated by the gel, which enters the enamel and makes the teeth color lighter.
What are the different teeth whitening methods?
- Dental bleaching: It is the most common teeth whitening method. The dentist screens your teeth for any problems such as damage and infections. A rubber dam or sheath will be applied on the gums to keep the whitening gel away. Next, the whitening gel is applied to the teeth and spread evenly. It will be removed by rinsing. The dentist may have to perform it many times depending on the level of discoloration and the degree of whitening required.
- Dentist-supervised home whitening: This method of whitening can be done at home and is much effective compared to the conventional method. The dentist carefully takes a mold of your teeth and sends it to a dental laboratory, where it will be used as a reference to fabricating customized clear plastic trays. You can wear these plastic trays with whitening gel in them according to the routine suggested by the dentist.
- Laser whitening:It is the most effective means of teeth whitening. A photo-sensitive whitening gel is used by the dentist for this purpose. It only activates under the influence of light of a particular wavelength. When activated, it produces a foam which is used to lift the stains from the surface of the teeth, giving you whiter teeth. If the discoloration is severe, it can be repeated.
How long does the teeth whitening process take and how long will the effects last?
Bleaching can usually be completed within a few hours time, depending on how many times the procedure has to be repeated. Home whitening usually takes a few weeks' time (two to four weeks) for you to achieve the desired results. Laser teeth whitening is the fastest of them all and can be completed in less than an hour. People with an especially busy schedule can benefit from it.
The effect of teeth whitening can usually last a few years, depending on your lifestyle and oral habits. Consumption of colored foods and smoking can discolor your teeth quicker.
How can the staining of teeth be prevented?
Simple steps such as cutting down on the intake of sugary and colored foods, avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco and brushing the teeth with a fluoride paste can definitely help you maintain whiter teeth.